While we may think of history as looking into the past we musn’t forget that every day we live adds another layer to what IS now behind us.
This being LGBT+ History Month a good friend of mine has shared a letter with me that he has also sent to the Bath Record Office.
He is Richard Lowe and his email concerns a friend of his – who died in 2015 – but who was a well-known local figure and noted for his voluntary community work.
Here’s the letter in full.
“Dear Bath Record Office,
I wanted to share a recording – which was produced in 2011 for Bristol Community Radio – featuring Michael Daw, a resident in the Royal Crescent who was a well known figure in the community, Chair and Secretary of the Royal Crescent Society and much loved mentor.
If you Google him you may find more information about Michael and his voluntary community work for Bath.
I am hoping this can form part of this month’s Gay History Month celebrations, and that you can keep this file in your archives for future generations to appreciate how difficult life was before the decriminalisation of homosexuality. I have also attached two further documents with further information.
It would mean a great deal to me, and I know Michael. He would have wished this to be shared with a Bath audience after his death in 2015.
Incidentally, I performed in the Joseph production in Wells when I was 11 years old and when I came of age, my Theatre Studies teacher sign-posted Mike as someone who would help me to accept my own sexuality.
Mike became a very important part of my life, a constant reassuring figure until he passed away. One of the kindest, articulate and generous people I have ever known.”
Richard is letting me add that recording to this story and has also given me biographical information about Michael Daw’s life.
“Michael Daw joined the Naval Store Department in 1954.
After initial training and first appointment at Devonport, which was interrupted by National Service in the Royal Air Force, he moved to London to the Air Stores Division in Rex House in 1960.
Other appointments followed in Headquarters and after promotion he was appointed in 1965 to the staff of Special Projects RN in Washington DC co-located with the USN Polaris organisation, this was the first of two appointments in the US which he enjoyed immensely.
On return to UK in 1968 he served at Copenacre before appointment to Faslane, and in NS Headquarters in Bath. He was fortunate to again be appointed in 1974 to SPRN Washington.
On return, with promotion to Principal in 1977, he spent a year at The National Defence College, Latimer before further appointments to NS Headquarters in Bath and at Copenacre. This was followed on further promotion by being made Superintendent RN Store Depot Copenacre.
His final job in the Department before taking early retirement was as Head of Supply and Transport Planning in Ministry of Defence Main Building, London to which he commuted on a daily basis from his beloved flat in the Royal Crescent, Bath.
Mike was a well informed student of architecture and interior design and was a great enthusiast of theatre. He was also involved in the production of high standard amateur dramatics, of which the high point was the 800th Centenary Celebration of Wells Cathedral where he ‘staged’ a sensational performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Before and after his retirement he was active in preservation work through the Royal Crescent Society and was also a significant member of the Bath and County Club Management Committee.
No account of Mike’s life would be complete without mention of the pedigree cats which were his constant companions for many years.”
Thanks Richard and here is that recording – made for Bristol Community Radio.